Jessie Thackrey Was One in a Generation
Only once in a generation, or even two, will you see the likes of Jessie Thackrey. She and her husband, Franklin, helped found the City of Falls Church. I have seldom seen a citizen in any community who gave so much of her life to the development of the Falls Church public school system. Falls Church has lost a founding citizen. I have lost a dear friend.
Jessie was a person who kept a continuing interest in how city councils are elected and planning commissions appointed, especially as those bodies affect the public school system. In many respects, Jessie can be called the “Mother of the Falls Church public school system.” She maintained her interest into her very last year.
I would like to tell you a story that demonstrates how she made a difference with her simple presence. Not so long ago, Jessie attended a City Council meeting where the Council was considering whether to make available moneys to the public school system. It was extraordinary to see her sitting close to the Council, wearing a lovely dress, sitting through the entire debate.
When it looked like the money might not be made available, at least two of the Councilors kept looking at Jessie. They knew what she stood for. When the final vote was called, it appeared the schools would not get their adequate share. But Jessie was still there, she just sat and looked at the Council, and in the end school system was allocated the funds in the budget that it needed. Jessie was truly the conscience of the schools then, as she has been throughout her entire life.
Before closing, I want to acknowledge Jessie’s daughter, Sue, whose strength, warmth and heart permitted her mother to follow her passion for Falls Church and its schools past her 100th birthday.
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